Bay Area Traffic

Commuters plan ahead for bridge closure

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Caltrans will close the entire Bay Bridge for the Labor Day weekend.

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Maxwell Lord Kennedy has a comfortable commute in his 1979 Lincoln across the Bay Bridge, but he's staying home this Friday since the bridge will be closed.

"I don't think there are going to be that many people downtown so I just said let my employees take the day off, have a short week," said Kennedy.

He doesn't want to take BART or the long way around on alternate bridges. He will lose money with his auto detailing business closed.

"I'm going to lose a $1,000 on Friday before I even open my eyes," said Kennedy.

Caltrans has to close the Bay Bridge to connect the existing cantilever bridge to a temporary detour. It's all happening 150-feet in the air and involves a high-tech system of jacks and tracks.

Commuters are making alternate plans.

"I live out in the Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek area so I'm going to go I-80, Richmond San Rafael bridge, down through the Golden Gate," said Bay Bridge commuter Kyle Andrews.

Leo Yamo says it normally takes 20 minutes to get from Hercules to San Francisco in his car at 4:30 a.m., but he'll take advantage of the 24-hour BART service to get to his hotel job.

"Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I am taking BART those days. I Don't know what's going to happen, I never take BART because I normally work mornings and never get traffic," said Yamo.

The Waterbar Restaurant sits in the bridge's shadow. The manager says he doesn't know what to expect this weekend, but is hoping for a repeat of last year.

"Last year was really busy, the weather was great, people loved to be down in our location looking over the Bay Bridge," said Waterbar Restaurant manager Keith Rada.

And at the Waterfront Restaurant, they're counting on the hometown customers.

"We'll see. Thursday to Monday or Thursday to Tuesday is a very long time. Hopefully we'll get our regulars in and we'll be good," said Waterbar employee Liana Bravo.

Caltrans says it's already built in an entire extra day to accommodate unforeseen problems. But no one is promising an early re-opening.

For more information about the Bay Bridge closure during the Labor Day weekend, click here.

For transit options, visit www.511.org/baybridge

For the latest on the Bay Bridge construction project, visit baybridgeinfo.org

Follow updates on the bridge closure on Twitter at twitter.com/BayBridgeInfo

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